Start of last year’s Mount Hood Nutcracker Challenge cross-country race. (courtesy photo)


MELROSE—The Melrose Running Club is once again presenting its annual cross-country race at the Mount Hood Golf Club, on Dec. 9, starting at 12:00 noon. “The Mount Hood Nutcracker Challenge” runs 3.5 miles over the fairways, along with some cart path sections. There is also a 2-mile walk option, starting at the same time.

This will be the 17th running of the event.  This race is a unique cross-country race in the Greater Boston area in that the course changes every year.  It is also one of the few opportunities north of Boston for local runners to test their mettle on a true cross-country course.  Runners look forward to a vigorous team competition, challenging (hilly!) course, and vying for the coveted nutcrackers!  Others arrive festively dressed for this December race, come for the experience and challenge of XC running, and look forward to the post-race get-together inside the historic Mount Hood clubhouse.

Last year’s renewed race (name change and post-pandemic) drew over 200 runners and several walkers.  The race raises funds for Housing Families, Inc., which provides several services to area residents, including help with finding affordable, stable housing or emergency shelter for those in need, legal help for those facing homelessness or eviction, tutoring and after school programs for youth, and trauma support for all ages.  A portion of the proceeds also goes to the Melrose High School cross-country teams.

Post-race activities this year will include a pasta lunch for all participants, a cash bar, and awards to top overall, age group winners, and teams (3-deep in all categories).  Teams consist of 3 runners for male and female, open and masters (40+) divisions, and 4 runners in the open coed division.


Melrose residents Daniel and Kristin Nauman striding along at last year’s Mount Hood Nutcracker Challenge. (courtesy photo)

To register for the run, visit . Entry fees are $33 through Dec. 4, $38 thereafter.  Fees for runners 17 and under at the time of registration, and for all walkers, are just $20 through Dec. 4, $25 thereafter.  

Bib numbers will be available for early pick-up at the following time and location:

Marathon Sports – 401 Main Street, Melrose

  • Friday, Dec. 8, 3 – 7 PM

Race day pick-up and in-person registration will be at the Mt. Hood clubhouse, 100 Slayton Rd., Melrose

  • Saturday, Dec. 9, 10:00 – 11:30 AM

The Melrose Running Club (MRC) started in the 1990s and rents space at the Melrose Knights of Columbus on Foster St., where they hold weekly club runs every Tuesday night at 7 pm.  Runners of all abilities are welcome to join.  In late April each year, a 10-week “Walk-to-Run” program is offered, which has been very successful over the years helping people to get into a healthy running routine, or back into it after several years’ break.  To learn more about MRC, visit